Brain histological changes in young mice submitted to diets with different ratios of n-6/n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids during maternal pregnancy and lactation.Clin Nutr. 2011 Oct; 30(5):659-67.CN
N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) are essential for brain development and function, but the appropriate quantity of dietary n-3 PUFAs and ratio of n-6/n-3 PUFAs have not been clearly determined. In this study, we investigated the effects of different dietary ratios of n-6/n-3 PUFAs on the brain structural development in mice and the expression of associated transcription factors. C57 BL/6J mice were fed with one of two categories of n-3 PUFA-containing diets (a flaxseed oil diet and a flaxseed/fish oil mixed diet) or an n-3 PUFA-deficient diet. For each of the n-3 PUFA diets, flaxseed oil or flaxseed/fish oil was combined with other oils to yield three different n-6/n-3 ratios, which ranged from 15.7:1 to 1.6:1. The feeding regimens began two months before mouse conception and continued throughout lactation for new pups. As compared with the n-3 PUFA-deficient diet, both the flaxseed oil n-3 PUFA diets and the flaxseed/fish oil n-3 PUFA diets significantly increased the expression levels of brain neuron-specific enolase, glial fibrillary acidic protein and myelin basic protein, somewhat dose-dependently, in new pup mice at 21 d and 42 d of age. The expression of PPAR-γ in the brains of pup mice was increased only at 7 d of age with the n-3 PUFA diet, and no changes in the expression of PPAR-α and PPAR-β were found among all the diet groups. These results suggest that the higher intake amount of n-3 PUFAs with a low ratio of n-6/n-3 PUFAs at about 1-2:1, supplied during both maternal pregnancy and lactation, may be more beneficial for early brain development, and PPAR-γ may act in one of the pathways by which n-3 PUFAs promote early brain development.